Shoulder Driven from The Three Styles of Freestyle

Mike Bottom describes the Shoulder Driven Stroke. Underwater footage and above shows the characteristics of this stroke and how it is applied in the Race Club training.

5 Responses to Shoulder Driven from The Three Styles of Freestyle

  1. Lee

    I understand the 3 styles, but when a young swimmer views the video the most asked ?? I get is when do I use the 3 styles. i.e. – If a 50 free is the race – do we break out with the shoulder driven and go into a body driven and then finish strong with a shoulder driven/straight arm recovery ?? In the 100, 200, 500, etc… yds obviously.


    • Nico Messer


      to keep it simple, I would say that SD is for a 50, HD for 100 and up and you would use a BD stroke during the last few meters of your race. Switching from one to another (or even use all 3) in one race is actually not done very often…switching from one style to another will change your rhythm something you want to avoid in a race as it usually means a change in stroke rate as well (and you wouldn’t want your stroke rate to go down). Nathan Adrian actually does use all of the 3 styles in his 100 free races almost to perfection. Peter Vanderkaay tried using it at the end of his 400’s last summer but you could see that he didn’t master it yet (which he also told in interviews). Also usually you wouldn’t use the straight arm recovery during a SD stroke but during the BD stroke.

      Hope this clears up some things. Let me know if you want more details.

  2. Swimtolive

    I am confused on how to breath (one sided or both sides) on my shoulder driven. I breath both sides on my hip driven. What should I do?

  3. Gary Hall Sr

    The stroke rate is much faster with shoulder driven so I recommend breathing every cycle 1:2 pattern (to the same side). There are some women that will breath to each side (1:3 pattern) with shoulder-driven freestyle, but I prefer to get more oxygen to the athlete to finish stronger.

  4. Henric Birrong

    As a triathlete I would like to change my style to higher stroke rates (from about 60 to 80). I have a natural two beat kick, with correct timing, but no propulsion.In my age I think it is senseless to try to achieve propulsion from the legs, and it is counter-productive to the bike/run legs. What is the best way to get the SPM up and achieve a good shoulder driven freestyle with a 2-beat kick ? I already own a tempo trainer.


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